Kalae's COR failing may haunt Ruttley

Chain of responsibility conviction against Kalae may haunt its owner Bob Ruttley if another trucking firm he operates commits breaches

Kalae's COR failing may haunt Ruttley
Kalae's COR failing may hound Ruttley

By Brad Gardner | October 14, 2011

The chain of responsibility conviction against Kalae may come back to haunt its owner Bob Ruttley if another firm he is involved in commits road law offences.

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) confirmed to ATN it has the power to pursue transport company directors for misconduct committed at previous firms.

Kalae, which was the holding company for Ruttley Freightlines’ vehicles, was earlier this year convicted and fined more than $290,000 under chain of responsibility law for committing 84 overloading offences. Kalae pleaded guilty to flouting the law over a three-year period.

A NSW court also imposed a 12-month supervisory intervention order, which required Ruttley (pictured) to fit weight monitoring devices to his trucks. Kalae went into administration in July, with creditors voting to wind it up in August.

"If a former director of Kalae Pty Ltd is involved in another company which is found guilty of a road law offence, the RTA may prosecute that director. If convicted, the RTA can seek to use evidence of previous conduct, if making applications for further orders," a spokeswoman for the RTA tells ATN.

A copy of the minutes of the Kalae creditors meeting lists Bob Ruttley, who today contacted ATN to say Ruttley Freightlines is still operating, as a director of Kalae.

A former high-level RTA bureaucrat, who had a long involvement with the trucking industry, says operators want to be assured chain of responsibility is pursued to hold offenders accountable.

"There will be a lot of people in industry who will be closely watching how the RTA keeps an eye on this guy," the former bureaucrat says.

Trucking operators need to contact the authorities if they are aware of unlawful practices going on by any companies, the ex-bureaucrat adds.

Kalae committed minor, substantial and severe overloading offences between June 30, 2008 and February 17, 2011. Ruttley declined repeated requests to comment, but ATN understands his business is highly critical of the RTA for not going higher up the chain.

"Once it got hard they stopped with us, knowing full well we never loaded a trailer," a company source says.

The RTA investigated a loader but did not go further. It says the 84 offences involved multiple consignors and consignees, making it unreasonable to prosecute each one.

The former bureaucrat has no sympathy for Ruttley’s business, questioning how a company could tally up 84 offences over three years and not take action itself before the RTA stepped in.

"The regulator is not part of your management system. It is not your safety net, it is the public’s safety net," the ex-bureaucrat says.

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